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2023 Presidency: Eschew Disunity, Electoral Violence, Yoruba Global Council Tells S-West Aspirants

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The Yoruba Global Council (YGC), a foremost and prestigious Yoruba Diaspora – based socio-cultural organization, has called on south west aspirants in the forthcoming general elections to eschew disunity and electoral violence.

The body was established to advance the course and interest of the Yoruba nation through the promotion of unity, mutual trust, trade liberalization, co-existence and interactions with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the Diaspora. YGC is also committed to deepening democracy by fostering the ethos, values and healthy practices of representative government in the South West and Nigeria in general.

In release made available to Freelanews and co-signed Prof. Lere Amusan and Prince Segun Akanni, who are the spokesman and general secretary of the body respectively, YGC sought to send strong admonishment to all presidential aspirants of the Yoruba extraction, especially those in the ruing All Progressives Congress (APC).

“We admonish them to shy away from divisive or politics of acerbity and eschew electoral violence as the country prepares for the 2022 primaries and 2023 general polls.  To put issues in proper perspectives, YGC warns all Yoruba presidential aspirants, particularly those in APC such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the incumbent Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Pastor Tunde Bakare to be circumspect in the way and manner they go about their political ambition. 

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“They need to, at this momentous time of our history,  resist the game plan of the fifth columnists and foes of the Yoruba nation who are bent on taking the presidency away from the Yoruba come 2023. YGC believes that 2023 presents another golden opportunity for the Yoruba to produce the next President for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and divisive politicking or politics of ego and self-centeredness among those jostling for the number one seat must not be allowed to jeopardize such prospect,” the statement read.

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YGC reminded the aspirants how Yoruba lost Ilorin territory to Fulani and also how widely acclaimed winner of June 12 presidential election, late Chief MKO Abiola, was backstabbed due to politics of self-centerness practised by frontline Yoruba leaders in the past.

“History is replete with circumstances in which the Yoruba lost their coveted territory of Ilorin to the Fulani owing to over-ambition and egoistic attitude demonstrated by Atiba. It would be succinctly recalled that it was the over ambition of Atiba to become the Alaafin, at the expense of his brother, Alaafin Oluewu,  that led to the painful loss of Ilorin to the Fulani today. Another trait of disunity played out during the June 12 struggle in which prominent Yoruba sons and leaders left Chief MKO Abiola in the lurch, thereby making the race lose the most exalted seat in the land. Must the Yoruba presidential aspirants and committed stakeholders to the Yoruba course and interest allow history repeat itself by allowing charlatans and political contractors infiltrate their camps and lead them to perdition?  YGC says categorical NO to the ploy and Machiavellian scheme of the adversaries of the Yoruba nation this time around!

“In view of the aforesaid, YGC enjoins all Yoruba presidential aspirants, especially the APC Heavyweights, to  sheath their swords, come together, play ball and find a common ground through which a credible, reliable, responsible and capable Yoruba son will be fielded to represent our collective interest and aspirations as well as those of the larger federation –  Nigeria. YGC is not in any way averse to the idea of one federated Nigeria but on the proviso that such a federation is built upon egalitarianism, justice, equity, inclusiveness and sense of belonging for all and sundry.

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“Besides, it has been, over the years, observed that every election cycle poses potent threat to the sustainability of our nascent democracy and the democratization process. Since 1999, developments leading to each election year had been and have continued to be characterized by political assassination, brigandage, hate speech, gruesome abduction, grandstanding, implosion occasioned by lack of internal democracy (especially after party primaries) and anti-party activities among other encumbrances,” the statement continued.

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The group noted that all of these unnecessarily heat up the polity and create palpable fear in the minds of the electorate – a development that compels them (voters) to abdicate their franchise on Election Day. It, therefore, unequivocally decries these dangerous preludes to Nigerian elections and canvases for a quick change of the obnoxious narratives.     

“Based on the foregoing and in line with our mandate and unassailable commitment to advancing the collective interest of the Yorba race both at home and in Diaspora and in fostering peaceful co-existence, we reiterate our warning by calling on all illustrious sons and daughters of the Yoruba nation – seeking the presidency, to embrace unity and a sense of political camaraderie by according Yoruba interest premium priority ahead of personal ambition.” 

YGC also appealed to all political aspirants, party leaders and critical stakeholders to play prominent role in the advocacy for peaceful, free and fair elections at both primary and general levels ahead of the 2023 general polls.

“Democracy can only thrive when all stakeholders eschew all forms of electoral violence, but seek to embrace peace in all its ramifications before, during and after the 2023 general elections. Elections will come and go but the indivisibility of the nation and its people unity must remain intact. It is to this end that we crave the indulgence of all players and gladiators in the electoral arena to support our advocacy for peace by contributing to the creation of secure and peaceful atmosphere that guarantees the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections, especially in Yorubaland and indeed, Nigeria come 2023.

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“We are utterly aware of the qualities possessed by each of the Yoruba presidential aspirants that have declared their interest to run and we repose sheer confidence in their sense of leadership, charisma, capacity, responsibility, diligence and commitment towards a better Nigeria and Yoruba nation, but everyone of you cannot be president at the same time. Hence, a common ground must be sought and worked upon which will bring to the fore the most capable, reliable and trustworthy Yoruba candidate for the presidency.

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“In keeping the peace and jettisoning electoral violence, all players and critical stakeholders must again work assiduously in ensuring their campaign trains and parties’ supporters keep to the rules of the game (as enshrined in the Electoral Act) and report the activities of any unscrupulous elements that may wish to thwart the process to the law enforcement agencies for appropriate action.

“In summary, YGC fervently believes it is Yoruba time and moment to produce the next president for the country going forward and all efforts to torpedo that dream by enemies of the race by pitching one Yoruba aspirant against the other will be fought with every resource at its disposal,” it submitted. 

The Yoruba socio-cultural organisation revealed it recognises peace as one of the critical ingredients that will guarantee a successful conduct of the 2023 primary and general elections and all hands have to be on desk to keep the peace.

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Crime

Union Bank keeps mum as EFCC arraigns employee over fraud (Photos)

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former employee of Union Bank, Abdulmalik Salau, and two others for cybercrime and money laundering involving about N1.403 billion.

The other accused persons are Ismaila Atumeyi and Ngene Dominic. EFCC announced the arrest of the defendants in November.

The anti-graft agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the trio were arraigned before the trial judge, Tjinani Ringim, of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

They face 18 charges to which they all pleaded “not guilty” on Monday.

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Following their “not guilty” plea, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, called for the commencement of their trial, a request he anchored on the provision of section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

“Therefore, we will, with all humility, ask your Lordship for the acceleration of this trial.

My Lord, Section 300 of the ACJA also expects the prosecution to give a very brief summary of the case it has against the defendants,” the lawyer said.

How defendants allegedly diverted bank’s N1.4billion’

Mr Oyedepo also informed the judge that the prosecution had lined up six witnesses to testify against the defendants.

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He said the prosecution would, through the witnesses, show to the court “how the defendants agreed among themselves to hack into the database of Union Bank Plc, transferred funds belonging to the bank and its customers and used the proceeds of this unlawful activity to acquire properties for themselves.”

He added that the prosecution would show how the third defendant, a former member of staff of Union Bank Plc, allegedly worked with the others and “succeeded in hacking into the database of the bank”

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He alleged that the defendants, in different instalments, moved over N1.4 billion into the accounts of FAV Oil and Gas Limited and Atus Homes Limited.

The prosecuting lawyer added: “The exhibits that the prosecution will tender include the documentary exhibit that shows that the sum of $480,000 was found in the possession of the third defendant and that the sum of N326, 400 million cash was found in a black Escalade car in the possession of first and second defendants.

“My lord, the case is such that, in its nature, requires the cooperation of both the prosecution and the defence team to see its expeditious determination.

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“I, therefore, urge your lordship, pending the determination of the case, to remand the defendants in a correctional facility, where adequately trained personnel will see to their welfare and wellbeing.”

EFCC alleged that part of the offences allegedly committed by the defendant was contrary to and punishable under section 16(1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015.

Another of the offences was also said to violate section 18( a), 15 (2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

Defence lawyers deny allegations, apply for bail

Responding to the prosecuting counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde, the lawyer representing the first and second defendants, Messrs Atumeyi and Dominic, said: “No iota of evidence has been admitted against the first and second defendants.

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The defendants having pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, Mr Ayorinde said “they are constitutionally and legally under the presumption of innocence until otherwise determined by the court.”

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The defence lawyer added:* “In order to further the presumption of innocence of the first and second defendants, we filed on November 30, 2022, an application for bail seeking your lordship’s admission to bail of the first and second defendants pending the hearing and determination of the charge against them.

“The prosecution has responded to the application by serving on the first and second defendants a counter filed on 5 December 2022.”
He said in ensuring an expeditious and speedy dispensation of the case, he was prepared to move the application for bail immediately.

The application for bail for the first and second defendants is ready for hearing. The summons for bail is dated November 30, 2022. Since it seeks admission of the defendants to bail in very liberal terms, the grounds of the application are well stated in the summons,” he said.

Mr Ayorinde, who described the offence as bailable, stated that the defendants, “who were arrested and detained as far back as November 1, 2022,” would not jump bail.

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He maintained that the “incarceration of the first and second defendants ought not to continue, even if on some terms. Their rights to bail have not been taken away; the charges preferred against them are bailable.”

The third defendant’s lawyer, Babatunde Ogunwo, also denied the allegations levelled against his client and “adopted “wholeheartedly” the argument of Mr Ayorinde.

EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Oyedepo, opposed the defendants’ bail applications.

“In the very unlikely event that the court disagrees with our submissions, we pray your lordship to impose such conditions that will secure the attendance of the defendants, particularly the first and second defendants whose applications are being argued.”

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The judge adjourned until Tuesday for ruling on the bail application of the first and second defendants.

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One year old boy drowns after falling into bucket of water in Anambra

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A boy, 1, has d!ed after falling into a bucket of water in Nnewi, Anambra state.

The child’s parents reportedly left him in the care of his siblings when the tragedy occurred on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The siblings were busy playing when the child made his way to buckets of water arranged outside and fell into one.

He was found too late.

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Videos shared online show loved ones praying for the boy to come back to life. No one is seen performing CPR in the video.

Sadly, the boy gave up the ghost.

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Men who refuse polygamy contributing to prostitution – Ned Nwoko

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A Nigerian lawyer and politician, Prince Chinedu Munir Nwoko, popularly known as Ned Nwoko, has accused men who do not marry more than one wife of contributing to immorality in society.

The former lawmaker, who stated this in his recent interview with the Guardian, urged Nigerian men to emulate the northern men by marrying more than one wife.

He said: “Many women are out there without a husband, especially in the southern part of the country, and there is a high level of prostitution. If the southern men emulate their northern counterparts by marrying more than one wife, that could probably change the situation.

“An average southerner may have one wife with girlfriends, and he is spending money on the girlfriends, sometimes even more than his wife.

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“For instance, the man, who has three wives, concentrate on them, every money he makes is spent on his family, and he is more likely not to have a girlfriend or concubines. The money those with several girlfriends spend on them is a gift, not an investment in the family.”

Nwoko, who has multiple wives, noted that he and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, are serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.

Ned, who further claimed to have the same background as Ooni, explained that their grandfathers were kings and had served Nigeria in that capacity. “And we are now also serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.”

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